Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live. – Isaiah 55: 3
A friend once shared a song she learned as a child:
Oh, let the sunshine in!
Face it with a grin!
Open up your heart and let the sunshine in!
How irritating is that?! Another friend told me her mom’s motto was “Smile, smile, smile!” Smile. All the time – even when your school folder slides off the dashboard and your son steps on the papers with muddy shoes. Even when someone drops his grapefruit face-down during the countdown to van take-off. Even when there’s too much to do, the kids are whining, and you forgot to defrost the chicken. Smile, already!
You know, I think they were on to something. A revolution occurs in the heart when sunshine makes contact. I tried it – it’s fast, and it’s astonishing! I think it happens when deep within we flip the switch of our will to “on,” to “Hello, God! I’m listening.” We open ourselves to love, and it changes everything. As essential as vitamen C, love promotes healing and protects us from the disease of self-pity.
But I must admit, I do squirm. Insanely, I prefer the dark, grouchy tension of My Way. It hurts to flip the will-switch. Inherent with that action is an admission of guilt, neediness, of choosing the wrong path. As the day wears on, the invitation stands, but it becomes harder to accept because I’ve invested so much more in my failing plan.
And exactly how do we let the sunshine in when facing catastrophic circumstances? To exhort Japanese believers to smile in the face of their current tragedy would be abhorent. Sometimes, the sunshine presents tears of release and brokenness. This is genuine. God’s love is not an injection of glib happiness when life throws us its worst. It can manifest in many ways, but it is always real. And healing.
If we know someone who’s suffering, we can offer them a real, valuable response only if we are connected to God. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, we lift up the Japanese people to You. We cannot imagine what they’re going through, and our hearts are torn for them. Surround them with Your presence, and give them the strength they need to endure. Comfort them and give them the hope of Heaven and the peace of knowing You in their suffering. Please, by Your sovereign power prevent a nuclear meltdown, and protect them from radiation. Restore their country and give their leaders wisdom. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Please feel free to add a prayer for Japan, or any suffering country, in the comments section.